Just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's informal summit with President Xi Jinping, China on Tuesday said that the Doklam standoff happened due to "lack of mutual trust" between both the nations.
Indian and Chinese troops had been locked in a stand-off for over two months last year in the Doklam area near Sikkim before "disengaging" on August 28. The area of the standoff is also claimed by Bhutan.
"The boundary incident that happened (at Doklam) last year someway reflected lack of mutual trust between the two countries," Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told the media when asked about the Doklam standoff.
Asked whether the Doklam standoff and the boundary issue will figure in the talks between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi, Kong said the two leaders decided to hold informal summit "because both the countries attach great importance to each other in external strategy, not because of the boundary question that still remained unresolved, that we need to talk about it during the informal summit".
India-China boundary dispute spans to 3,488-km along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides have held 20 rounds of talks between the Special Representatives to resolve it.
"Of course, the boundary question is important. Both sides need to work together to create favourable conditions and gradually settle it. Proper settlement of boundary question will help deepen cooperation and deepen mutual understanding and trust between the two countries," Kong said.
He said both China and India needs to even make greater efforts to deepen their mutual trust.
"At the informal summit, the two leaders will have heart-to-heart discussions on the issues of overarching, long-term and strategic importance to bilateral relations. In terms of some specific differences or sensitive issues, the two sides will stay in touch with each other through relevant channels. In the process of deepening mutual trust, they will gradually find a way to try to settle them," he said.
Modi and Jinping are scheduled to hold an "informal summit" in central China's Wuhan city from April 27 to 28 to improve bilateral relations and discuss global issues of mutual concern.
Sources said that the summit is not the platform where the two leaders will discuss specific issues like the UN ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group chief Masood Azhar and tick off one by one.
A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India's move to designate Azhar a global terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC.
The two leaders will have free-flowing discussions and no agreements were expected to be signed, official sources said. Also there will be few officials present at the informal summit venue.
Most of the time the two leaders were expected to interact between themselves with the presence of just translators, official sources added.
Modi was expected to arrive in Wuhan in the evening on April 26 and join Xi in the informal summit at a picturesque location the next day. Their meetings were expected to go on till mid-day of April 28 after which the Prime Minister will return, they said.
The summit is unprecedented as this is the first-time China is hosting an informal summit spanning about two days, signifying the importance it attaches to the bilateral ties bogged down with a host of issues last year including the Dokalam standoff lasting 73 days.
Though there were informal get-togethers organised by Chinese leaders with foreign dignitaries, it was part of state visits.
The idea for a such a summit was mooted when Modi and Xi met during the BRICS summit at Xiamen last year in the backdrop of the Dokalam standoff and evolved steadily over the months with high-level meetings starting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Delhi last December.
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(With PTI inputs)